Vanilla farmers on the island of Aneityum are targeting the steady produce of first grade vanilla beans since their last harvest in December 2020.
These vanilla farmers in Port Patrick were fortunate to attend several trainings on vanilla farming techniques until harvesting and curing of vanilla beans.
Most of these farmers have had good experience and have made huge progress in maintaining their vanilla plots following the trainings provided by the Vanuatu Skills Partnership (VSP) with the support of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) through its Assistant Agriculture Officer (AAO) on Aneityum, Mike Jimmy.
“The farmers are now aiming at producing first grade vanilla beans because of its high value and price.
“This is to maintain the standard of Aneityum island producing first grade vanilla as mentioned by the buyers last December so the farmers are really trying their best to produce the top quality vanilla beans this year.
“Producing the first grade vanilla beans begins at the flowering stage of vanilla, process of pollination and thinning of unhealthy beans.
“The vanilla beans must be 22 to 23 centimetres long and their essence must produce strong fragrance.
“A few years back I worked with around 30 vanilla farmers who have rehabilitated their vanilla plots but since 2019 to 2020, many farmers started the replanting of vanilla vines so this year I am working with 60 vanilla farmers on Aneityum.
“This year 2021, there are 27 serious vanilla farmers who have huge plots of vanilla and are producing the first grade vanilla beans. So far there are already two harvests last month (July).
“A domestic buyer on Santo is ready to purchase vanilla beans from the farmers. We are negotiating with the VSP to ensure that the buyer will travel to Aneityum to purchase vanilla from the farmers at their doorsteps,” AAO Jimmy said.
Port Patrick is a hot spot for vanilla on Aneityum since it has a history of spices production so vanilla planting materials are sourced from these plots and distributed to other interested farmers.